Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Mom's Perspective of Miley Cyrus and the VMA's ...

As a rule, I don't watch the MTV Music Awards. They just aren't the same since MTV became more about the TV and less about the M. So I didn't think anything about it last night. Didn't even know it was on until I began seeing post after post talking about Miley Cyrus' embarrassing performance with Robin Thicke.
If you haven't yet seen the video, take a look:

Be sure to watch in its entirety, and yes that's important, because I am about to dissect this performance a bit ...

First off, I want to say that this performance was not shocking in the least. At least, not for me (okay, well, admittedly the giant foam finger was a bit much ...). Let's not forget performances of past VMA's involvoing Madonna, P!nk, Fergie, Lady Gaga, and others. People watch the VMA's to be shocked - at least that's why we all did in the 80's and 90's, and if we weren't, we were disappointed: "That was the most boring VMA's ever!" we would exclaim on the bus or at our lockers the next day. One particular favorite moment was Madonna and Britney locking lips. Or Madonna's performance of Like a Virgin. Or Madonna's bringing out the Drag Queen Brigade for Ray of Light. Or Madonna grabbing herself during Express Yourself, or Madonna's Marie Antoinette's rendition of Vogue, or Madonna's  ... Well, you get the picture ... The point is, for people to say how "shocking" Miley's performance is really inaccurate. It wasn't shocking. Not in the least.

Miley Cyrus came onto the scene in 2006 when Hannah Montana premiered on the Disney Channel. While her fun and quirky acting style was immediately obvious, it was her voice that made people stand up and take notice. Billy Ray's little girl could SING. But even so, she was still "Billy Ray's Little Girl". In fact, for the entirety of the show's run, and well after, she was "Billy Ray's Little Girl". Not once was she ever just "Miley" on her own terms. Not only that, but because she was "Billy Ray's Little Girl" and a "Disney Kid" she was expected to maintain a squeaky-clean image. So much so that she couldn't even sneeze sideways without a frenzy of media hate. You put those expectations on a kid while they're trying to live up to daddy's shadow and things happen ...

First was the "salvia incident". First off, for a kid to be experimenting with ANY drug is on the parents. Yep. I blame Billy Ray for that one. Know your kids, know their friends ... And don't give them a reason to WANT to try drugs.

Next came the "Can't Be Tamed" video. It was an image of a little girl struggling to grow up on her own terms.

Miley was in and out of the news after that for a string of media moments, including a DUI and speculation of drug use, but nothing major until now.

When you watch the video, the image of a little girl lost comes to mind. In some ways, it's saddening. In others, empowering.

It's empowering on the level that she is finally making a name for herself on her terms, not her father's. She's coming into her own. She is trying to break the image of "Billy Ray's Little Girl" and morph into her own image.

It's saddening because the image she's trying to morph into still isn't her own. Not really. I didn't see Miley Cyrus. Instead, I saw a compilation of P!nk, Madonna, Lady Gaga ... It was although she was trying to get as many shocking performers as she could and fit them all into one persona.

But taking the image of a 14 year old Miley Cyrus out of the picture, and watching the performance for the performance itself, it was nothing like the frenzy suggests.

In fact, as far as VMA performances go, it was one of the better ones. The fact is, no matter how you look at it, they were having fun up there. Even though people said that her vocals were "all over the place," I have to disagree. As a performer myself, I know how hard it is to be moving around up there and REALLY sing. Yes. She was REALLY SINGING. NOT lipsynching like 99.9% of singers and musicians do now days. Let's see how spot-on your vocals are after 50 jumping jacks ...

Everyone is so quick to judge Miley. Why is that? She did nothing different than many performers of MTV's past. She's going through a "wild phase" that so many young people go through at that age. In fact, some of those same young people are now amazing adult performers. So why make a big deal of it? Just turn your heads and get over it.

P.S. While the media frenzy over Miley was happening here, this was going on in Wisconsin, this was happening in Japan, and this was going on in Syria. Now, which do you think we should be more worried about?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pinterest Fails!

I have found a new website that is my new-found addiction.
It's called Pinterest Fail. I'll give you a second while you go take a look ...



Yeah, that second turned into HOURS, didn't it?
It did for me too.
This site is so funny and TRUE to life!!
If you've ever been on Pinterest you know the way it can just suck you in for hours at a time
And, really, who does some of these things?
Well, Pinterest Fail shows you who - and what happens when they do!
Some of these are disturbing, some just sad, but most of them are funny because you know that's exactly what would happen to you if you tried said activity.

In honor of this great website, once a month I will be featuring my own Pinterest Fail - and who knows it might end up on the web site!

So keep watching - and while your at it, go ahead and comment about your own Pinterest Fails - and even successes if you have a few!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday!! Chicken Not-Pie Skillet!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!

So I'm learning slowly but surely that CARBS ARE NOT MY FRIEND.
It's kinda a bummer, but it is what it is.
So, I'm having to re-invent the wheel, so to speak

I don't like substitutions much - you can use spaghetti squash or cauliflower or whatever, but seriously, it's just not the same. So rather than substitute, I'm figuring out ways to make it so that the starch is not even missed!

The following recipe is what I call a "morpher" - that means that it can start out one way, then you can change or add ingredients at will to make it a completely different meal. It's great, especially in WLS patient families because we can use the leftovers the next night to make a completely new meal.

Also, please note that these ingredients are NOT set in stone! Don't like chicken? Use pork! Hate onions? Skip 'em! Use ingredients that YOU love and make it your own!

The one on the left is my serving, the one on the right is for my hubby.
Serving sizes are: WLS Patient Serving 1/2 C
                     Regular Serving 1 C

Chicken Not-Pie Skillet

2 T Olive Oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion (any color) chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 can low-sodium green beans (Or fresh, if you prefer), drained

1 can cream of chicken soup (low-sodium)
1 T Heavy cream
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed high sided skillet over medium heat until it begins to glisten. Add onions and zucchini and saute until tender. Add chicken and continue to saute until chicken is no longer pink. Add green beans and sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring often, until heated through and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, covered. This allows the chicken to finish cooking through and the sauce to thicken.


Add Ins:
CHEESE!!! Make a version of chicken spaghetti without the spaghetti!! Trust me, this is so good you won't miss the pasta.

ENCHILADA SAUCE!!! For that craving we ALL get - try topping with some Monterey jack and sour cream for that ULTIMATE feast!

HERBS!! The sky is the limit here - rosemary, thyme, basil, sage - whatever your mood! The fresher the better!!

MORE VEGGIES!!! Put in as many veggies as you can stand! Trust me - they're ALL good like this!

Got it? Now, go try it!!
And if you make it, leave a comment and tell me how it worked out for you!
God Bless!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Organization Update! Boxes, Boxes, and more Boxes . . .

Happy Monday everyone! I'm linking up today with my sweet friend Nan over at Mom's the Word for her weekly link up Making Your Home Sing Monday! Head over there and check her out and send her some love!!

So, if you recall last week's post, I'm having issues with organization.
Yeah ... I guess that's kind of an understatement.
But last week, I decided to finally get it under control!
And, little by little, it's happening.

So, what did I accomplish last week?

I decluttered two drawers, four boxes, the piano, and a bookshelf.
I got the kitchen, dining room, and living room floors picked up and rid of all the trash collecting in them, well, until the dogs dragged more out, but that's taken care of too!
I had our couch cleaned off - then the kids and the hubbs piled stuff on it again...
It's weird, because just saying "I decluttered the living room" sounds like it wasn't a whole lot, but it was an ORDEAL. It took two days in itself.

I am learning that it is a process. I have to make habits daily, and stick with them even when I don't want to.
So, I've formed a "battle plan" of things that MUST be done daily without question and without whining about it:

Two loads of laundry - wash, fold, put away
Picking up around house (that's almost hourly)
Cleaning the kitchen
Straightening the bathroom
And decluttering for a few minutes at a time.

Now, the issue is the boxes of decluttered stuff I know have around my house, but that's okay because I think the boxes are better than the clutter . . . Well, to an extent. Plus those will be gone soon too. Although I may have to rethink my packing strategy - books in a large plastic container aren't easy to move . . .

So, my battle plan for this week is to continue doing what I've been doing! I'm going to finish getting the living room ready, make a delivery to the local Hospice thrift store, get my laundry room organized and finish cleaning the bathroom. If I have time this week, I'll start on getting the kitchen reorganized, but I'm not going to push it.

Yesterday I was feeling very overwhelmed and had a friend pray with me at church. After, I felt rejuvenated. I know I can do this - and I know that God can help me through!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Conjuring: A Christian's Persepective

I admit it.
I'm a sucker for a good ghost story.
The old classics: Haunting of Hill House, The House on Haunted Hill, even movies like The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist give me a thrill.
Yes, I love a good ghost story.
I am also a huge fan of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
I have known about the Warren family and followed their cases since I was a young teenager.
They are (well, were - Ed has since passed) devout Christians and strong believers in the power of God's word and of His message.
They have ministered and witnessed to thousands, and have helped many of that number with hauntings. As a result, Ed and Lorraine Warren have turned many people to Christ.
I think that's what I admire most about them.
There are a lot that the Warrens were and are into that I don't necessarily believe in, but I believe in what they stood for first and foremost - God and His Salvation through His son Christ.

I have studied several of Ed and Lorraine's cases - including the Lutz case, the Annabel doll case, and many others. Some of them I believe have been over-analyzed and, of course, dramatized. But a few I know beyond a shadow of a doubt are real. The Perron case is one of these.

For those that don't know the story, the Perron family moved into a farmhouse in Rhode Island in the 1970's. From the get-go, unexplained events started, eventually getting so bad that they sought help from the Warren family. After initial investigation, the Warrens discovered a demonic presence in the house, and went through the process to be approved for an exorcism of the location through the Catholic church (they are Catholics themselves). Without giving too much of the film away, I will leave it at that, although my own research into the story has shown that what the Perron family experienced was, indeed, terrifying beyond anything that most of us can imagine. To the point which some of the children (now grown) refuse to even speak of their experiences.

When I first started seeing trailers for The Conjuring, I was intrigued, but worried. I didn't want this to be "just another horror movie". I am a devout Christian, and I was hopeful (albeit a little doubtful) that they would include that part of Ed and Lorraine as it was such a prominent part of their lives and their work. I am pleased to say that they not only included that aspect, but it was a central theme in the film. At one point in time, Ed looks at the Perron father and says "Are you in church? It might not be a bad idea ..." He continued to witness to this family throughout the film (as he did in reality) about the reality of demons and Satan - and how the only power strong enough to fight them is God.

Another aspect I was hopeful for, was to see a bit of Ed and Lorraine as a partnership in life. Again, I was not disappointed. Lorraine Warren is quoted as say that her husband Ed was her, "first and only. There was no one before, and there is no one after." Their love for one another was so strong and sure - and they both attributed that to their strength in Faith.  They believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that God brought them together for a purpose - they were doing God's work. Again, I was not disappointed and this was again brought about as a central theme of the movie.

The final thing that I was hopeful for was that the filmmakers would be respectful of the true story and not add too much Hollywood garbage into things. While there were a few dramatizations (as you would expect), the film pretty well stuck to what really happened. I knew that Lorraine Warren herself had consulted on the film, but what I didn't know was that Ed actually got the ball rolling on it about twenty years ago, prior to his death in 2006. Additionally, the Perron family themselves also consulted on the film. This resulted in a film that was both true-to-life and respectful of both the family involved and the story itself.

The only aspect of the film that I did not like and would have taken out was a doll named Annabelle. This doll was from a completely different case and had nothing to do with the Perron family or their story. You can read about Annabelle's story here. Why Hollywood decided to include it is beyond me. Some of the trailers actually include this doll (which, by the way is a Raggedy Ann doll, not a creepy-looking porcelain doll) which leaves one to mistakenly believe the story is around Annabelle, when it is, in fact, not.

The story surrounding this film is one that can, literally, happen to anyone. Demons are real. There is no way to get around that. They are real, and they don't want us close to God, so they will do what they can to pull us from Him when we allow it. People do get plagued by them - every day. Some just plague us in little ways - telling us lies to make us feel bad or sorry for ourselves or to interfere with work we may be doing in God's honor. But others can affect us in bigger ways - wrecking havoc on our very lives and, in some cases, putting our very souls in jeopardy.

So how does one protect themselves from such diabolical attacks?
It's simple, don't bring it into your lives.
Don't get involved with anything occult in nature.
Don't do anything that would open you up to demonic attack.
Pray often - forge a strong relationship with Christ, not just in religion, but in spirit as well.
Accept him into your heart as your personal savior, if you haven't already.
Read the bible, and immerse yourself in God's word.
If you haven't been baptized, do so - it truly helps strengthen your relationship with Christ.
Get into a good church that you love.
If you do feel that something is going on in your life, speak with your pastor or priest - they will pray with you and, if you need further help, will guide you on the biblical principals that will help you get through your situation.

As a Christian, I feel that it is important to focus solely on God and His Higher Purpose for your life. I truly feel that this is how Ed and Lorraine Warren were - they loved God and they loved People. And when Ed walked into heaven, I feel that God looked at him and said, "well done, good and faithful servant." The Warrens do something that few paranormal investigators do, and that is acknowledge the fact that there is a Higher Power and that He is the one to call on. They took the time to witness to and often pray with those they were helping. They believed that God put them on this earth to help people, and that's what they did every day. In fact, it is what Lorraine still does, every day.

So, was The Conjuring "just another horror movie"? For most that go to see it, it is. But for me, it was so much more than that. It was a story about love, faith, and the power of God.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Learning To Lean On God

I'm linking up with my friend Nan at Mom's The Word for her weekly Making Your Home Sing Monday link-up. Please go over there and show her some love!!

It is really hard to admit that you can't do something on your own.
It is heartbreaking to admit that you need help.
And it's embarrassing to say that you are not strong enough to take something on.
But there comes a time in your life where you have to say "enough is enough" "I just can't do this."
And that's when it's time to let go.
That's when it's time to call on someone to help.
Because what WE cannot handle in the natural,
HE can handle in the supernatural.
What we cannot do,
HE can.
What we cannot handle,
HE will take on for us.
It just takes a little prayer. 

It was hard for me to admit that I couldn't handle this problem on my own.
It was very hard for me to admit that I even had a problem.
"i am a hoarder"
I whispered to myself as I looked at the piles upon piles of books, papers, and clothes.
"i am a hoarder"
I whispered again for good measure.
"i am a hoarder, and i can't handle this problem on my own"
Boy, that stung.
A lot.
"i am a hoarder, and i can't handle this problem on my own. Lord, please help me."
I stared at every pile, every full counter top and prayed.
And prayed.
And prayed.
Then I walked over to one of the junk drawers and cleaned it out.
I threw away trash, stickers, items that I haven't seen or used in a year or more.
It was liberating.
I moved on to a basket and did the same.
Then the dining room table.
I left it at that for that day.
I just didn't want to burn myself out.
And I knew I would do more the next. And the next.
Because I finally understood that I could not do this without God's help and divine favor.
I am finally learning to lean on God.

God bless you. Have a good week.